Story at a glance

  • Mike Ryan cited increasing numbers of cases in Brazil, India and parts of Africa.
  • Brazil has the second-largest outbreak in the world behind the United States.
  • WHO warned of an immediate second wave if countries lift restrictions too fast.

A top health expert with the World Health Organization (WHO) is warning that the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic is not over as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in countries like Brazil and India. 

“Right now, we’re not in the second wave. We’re right in the middle of the first wave globally,” Mike Ryan, the WHO’s executive director, told reporters according to the Associated Press (AP)


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“We’re still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up,” Ryan said, citing South America and other regions where the number of cases continues to increase, AP reports. 

Many South American countries have seen increasing numbers of cases, with Brazil the most affected at this point. 

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Brazil now has the second-largest outbreak in the world behind the United States, with more than 374,000 confirmed cases and more than 23,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker. The U.S. has more than 1.6 million cases and is nearing 100,000 deaths. The Trump administration announced Sunday President Trump was restricting the entry of non-U.S. citizens traveling from Brazil. 

Ryan told reporters Friday that South America “has become a new epicenter for the disease.” 

Meanwhile, India experienced a record single-day increase in new cases for the seventh straight day, reporting 6,535 new cases Tuesday, according to the AP. That brings the country’s total to more than 147,000 cases with 4,167 deaths. 

Russia has the third most number of cases worldwide, with more than 362,000 and more than 3,800 deaths. The AP reports Russia recorded a daily spike Tuesday of 174 deaths. 

WHO also warned countries with declining coronavirus cases they could face a second wave if they lift restrictions meant to stop the spread of the virus too soon. 

Ryan said Monday countries in Europe and North America should “continue to put in place the public health and social measures, the surveillance measures, the testing measures and a comprehensive strategy to ensure that we continue on a downwards trajectory and we don’t have an immediate second peak,” Reuters reports

States in the U.S. have started lifting restrictions, allowing nonessential businesses to reopen with some guidelines in place to curb the spread of COVID-19. 


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Published on May 26, 2020